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The Process of Making The Arabian Horse Bookends

The design of the Arabian Horse Bookends began with a drawing, a concept intended to evoke the history of this magical creature, as well as the experience of riding a horse, and seeing the world from this vantage point. It occurred to me that the way one is transported during an equestrian adventure is similar to the moment of imaginative transportation experienced during reading, thus the book ends, encapsulating experience and as an ode to literature and the great Arabian Horse together.

This project utilizes smooth lines and sculptural silhouettes and is created through a complex handmade process. It begins with a series of molds: first a plaster model is made, followed by a master mold, and then a rubber mold is used to produce the working plaster mold.

The sculpture is made using traditional methods including hand building and plaster lathe turning. The plaster mold is then used for a plaster slip casting. The slip casting process begins by pouring slip into the working molds and then pouring the slip out, leaving a thin shell of clay for a perfect object. Once the clay is dry enough the mold is taken apart and the smooth clay object is extracted. This slip casting is an intricate detailed process that allows the object to emerge beautifully smooth and meticulously lined.

The bookend design is a metaphor depicting the sensational experience of riding a horse and seeing the world between the erect ears of this powerful animal. It is this close proximity to the natural world that provides such a sense of escapism and relaxation, akin to the experience of escaping in the world of stories in books. In many ways, this contemporary project made through traditional plaster making methods reflects the threads of my practice: a commitment to the heritage of the UAE, the idea of objects as an expression of beauty in modern design, as well as the Bauhaus interest in making functional items as artworks made with great craftmanship.

This bespoke piece was manufactured at Mudshark studios.